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HBCU of the Week “Howard University”

What Are Historically Black Colleges And Universities?

Black colleges and universities, or HBCU’s, as they are commonly referred to as, are educational institutions in the U.S. They were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to serve the African American community in the country. Since segregation was at peak during this period, it was a necessary step. Most of the predominantly white institutions of educations did not accept African Americans. For nearly a century after slavery was abolished, African Americans were not allowed to attend most of colleges or universities in the Southern United States. Other institutions in the country have a quota for blacks and enforced it quite strictly. There was a total of 121 institutions at around 1930 and today, there are about 101 HBCU’s in the United States.

Howard University

Howard University is a private historically black university or HBCU located in Washington D.C. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Right from the beginning, Howard University has opened its gates to students of all races and sexes. It has a strong rule of being nonsectarian. The university offers over 120 areas across undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.

It has a rank of 89 and is known to be in second place among all the HBCU’s in the States. It is classified as a Tier 1 national university. It is also the only HBCU to have been ranked in the Top 40 by Bloomberg Businessweek. According to a ranking by Princeton Review, Howard University’s School of Business ranks first in “Opportunities For Minority Students”.

The school has the honor of producing four Rhodes Scholars, eleven Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, seventy Fulbright Scholars, twenty-two Pickering Fellows, and one Schwarzman Scholar. It also carried the badge of having the most number of black doctorate recipients.


Soon after the American Civil War came to an end, members of The First Congregational Society of Washington created a theological seminary for educating the African-American ministers and clergy. After a few weeks, they planned to include the facility to establish a university. A couple of years later, the University has started its Colleges of Liberal Arts and Medicine.

The educational facility was named after the University’s founder, General Oliver Otis Howard. He was also the Commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau at that time and later worked as the President of the University for a 5-year period that came to an end in 1874. The University relied on funding received from tuition fee, endowment, and private benefaction. The institution has offered education to more than 150,000 freed slaves.


Today, in 2019, All undergraduates are required to finish a university-wide curriculum. The current enrollment number stands are slightly over 6,000 students. The campus of the university is vast with 256 acres of land. With a bus stop especially for university students, public transportation has come a long way. Regarding compulsory courses, Afro-American studies and English composition are top ones. Students could choose their major from music therapy, French, and Afro-American studies. There are many student organizations, academic clubs, sororities, and fraternities. It works on a semester-based model. The teaching standards are quite high with the university being ranked at the 34th position for “Best Undergraduate Teaching”. The campus has undergone a great change as well with very nice features installed.

Schools And Colleges

Howard University offers a variety of courses, ranging across multiple study sectors. The colleges and schools under Howard University are listed below.

  • Howard University College of Arts and Sciences
  • Howard University College of Dentistry
  • Howard University School of Business
  • Howard University School of Communications
  • Howard University College of Medicine
  • Howard University School of Law
  • College of Engineering and Architecture
  • College of Nursing & Allied Health Sciences
  • College of Pharmacy
  • School of Divinity
  • School of Education
  • School of Social Work
  • Middle School of Mathematics and Science

The University also offers three selective honors programs for their top undergrads –

  • The College of Arts & Sciences Honors Program
  • The Executive Leadership Honors Program in the School of Business
  • The Annenberg Honors Program in the School of Communications

Notable Alumni

Well-known names in every sector make up the Alumni of Howard University. Sean Combs, the Grammy Award-winning rapper, and Ron Lawrence, Grammy Award-winning writer and producer are both Alumni of this university. Ananda Lewis, a well-known television star and Taraji P. Henson, a Golden Globe-winning actress also studied here. Henson has even been nominated for Emmy and Oscar.

Antoine Bethea, the NFL player, got his education here as well. In the field of politics, Mike Espy, the first African-American U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Adrian Fenty, former mayor of the District of Columbia are notable names. Regarding cinema, Ossie Davis and Lance Gross are the alumni of Howard University

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